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R3 is out at home for a head first slide...mechanic?


SeeingEyeDog

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Greetings brothers,

     I work a league that has a local modification for no head first slides into home and the runner is out. So, I had this happen this weekend. Here's what I did. I got to the correct destination but, the journey was rough.

     R3 only, no outs and he is going on contact. Ball is ripped to RF and F7 comes up firing a bullet off the bounce. It's close, R3 slides head first and I call him safe. I look down to 1B to see what the B/R might be doing and he is standing on 1B. I bring my hands up and call Time and at that same moment the defensive manager starts yelling from the dugout...Safe?!?!? No! He's out! That's a head first slide, Blue!

     I ignore him and announce after giving an out hammer and pointing at the plate, "The runner is out for a head first slide at home. Do not count the run."

     From the dirt circle, I said to the defensive coach, "Coach, out/safe is my judgement. Do not come out of the dugout on a judgement call. If you do so again, you will be ejected." The game resumed without incident and he apologized to me profusely after the game.

     Did I handle this headfirst slide call correctly? Or do you just grab the out while the ball is live?

~Dawg

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There's no mechanic for this kind of local modification. Please don't think you have to invent one.

Is the ball dead immediately, or delayed? Many infractions by the offense are immediate dead ball, and it's possible that the non-umpire who decided in favor of this modification did not address the issue. In the game, you checked the runner before calling time, making it a delayed call. I'd say that was handled fine.

If it's dead immediately, then kill it and make your announcement. Other runners return to their time-of-infraction bases.

If delayed-dead (or not addressed) I'd handle this similar to OBS: rather than rule on the safe/out, point to it, say "That's head first!" and attend to other runners. At the end of playing action, kill it, come back to HP, and say what you said: "That's a head first slide! By rule, the runner's out!"

That keeps coach in the dugout, doesn't leave anyone wondering what the call is, and allows you to pick up action at other bases in the interim.

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(I realize you stated it's a local league modification.) Little League has a no head-first slide rule [7.08(a)(4)] and here is what they say about the way to handle it in their Rules Instruction Manual.

INSTRUCTOR’S COMMENTS

➔ This rule does not apply when a runner is returning to a base, only when advancing to a base. Any runner who does a headfirst slide is out at the moment the umpire sees the runner go into the headfirst slide. The ball remains live and in play. Other runners may advance at their own risk and plays may be attempted on any other runners. If the runner who is called out for sliding headfirst has been forced to advance this will be a force out and no runs will score if this is the third out of the inning. In all other instances the headfirst slide will be a timing play when there are two outs.

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"Head first! He's out!" Simple, direct.

Why did you give the coach a warning/hard time? When you called the runner safe, the coach was right on the merits, he called "from the dugout" and did not come out. Moreover, it was not your judgment call he was questioning but your apparent misapplication of the rule. 

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7 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings brothers,

     I work a league that has a local modification for no head first slides into home and the runner is out. So, I had this happen this weekend. Here's what I did. I got to the correct destination but, the journey was rough.

     R3 only, no outs and he is going on contact. Ball is ripped to RF and F7 comes up firing a bullet off the bounce. It's close, R3 slides head first and I call him safe. I look down to 1B to see what the B/R might be doing and he is standing on 1B. I bring my hands up and call Time and at that same moment the defensive manager starts yelling from the dugout...Safe?!?!? No! He's out! That's a head first slide, Blue!

     I ignore him and announce after giving an out hammer and pointing at the plate, "The runner is out for a head first slide at home. Do not count the run."

     From the dirt circle, I said to the defensive coach, "Coach, out/safe is my judgement. Do not come out of the dugout on a judgement call. If you do so again, you will be ejected." The game resumed without incident and he apologized to me profusely after the game.

     Did I handle this headfirst slide call correctly? Or do you just grab the out while the ball is live?

~Dawg

If the runner rune out of the base path to avoid a tag, do you say "Safe, no tag" and then wait a while and then call the runner out for running out of the base path?  No.

 

Use the same logic here.  Just call the runner out the first time and save everyone (including yourself) a lot of grief.

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7 hours ago, LRZ said:

"Head first! He's out!" Simple, direct.

Why did you give the coach a warning/hard time? When you called the runner safe, the coach was right on the merits, he called "from the dugout" and did not come out. Moreover, it was not your judgment call he was questioning but your apparent misapplication of the rule. 

Yeahhhhh...I didn't like the cut of his jib.

You do you, though.

~Dawg

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Yeahhhh...but you were wrong. And got defensive about it, putting him on notice for two things he did not do.

(1) You warned him about arguing judgment calls; he did not, he called out your misapplication of the rule.

(2) You warned him about coming out of the dugout on judgment calls; he did not come out, as you wrote, "yelling from the dugout." And even if he did come out, see (1). 

You can get snarky about it, but these are the facts--as you described them. But go ahead, you can have the last word.

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18 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

Greetings brothers,

     I work a league that has a local modification for no head first slides into home and the runner is out. So, I had this happen this weekend. Here's what I did. I got to the correct destination but, the journey was rough.

     R3 only, no outs and he is going on contact. Ball is ripped to RF and F7 comes up firing a bullet off the bounce. It's close, R3 slides head first and I call him safe. I look down to 1B to see what the B/R might be doing and he is standing on 1B. I bring my hands up and call Time and at that same moment the defensive manager starts yelling from the dugout...Safe?!?!? No! He's out! That's a head first slide, Blue!

     I ignore him and announce after giving an out hammer and pointing at the plate, "The runner is out for a head first slide at home. Do not count the run."

     From the dirt circle, I said to the defensive coach, "Coach, out/safe is my judgement. Do not come out of the dugout on a judgement call. If you do so again, you will be ejected." The game resumed without incident and he apologized to me profusely after the game.

     Did I handle this headfirst slide call correctly? Or do you just grab the out while the ball is live?

~Dawg

I agree w/ @LRZ on this.   And, the bolded above is just bad game management.  You're coming across like a hardass and it really doesn't even make much sense.  LRZ is correct, ...it wasn't judgement, and he didn't come out of the dugout.   If you would have called the runner out because of the headfirst slide, ...none of this would have happened, ....right?   In situations like this, ...ignore the coach, make your call and move on.  You knew why he said what he said, and as soon as you announced your call, that satisfied his issue, right?

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CDP has a similar rule modification for insurance reasons, and this rule is no headfirst slides at Home. 

As @maven and @noumpereconveyed, the method to call this infraction is treated like Runner Out of the Basepath on a tag attempt, or Coach Assistance. The Runner is called / signaled Out (if you want to vocalize the reason, it certainly helps), but the ball remains Live. @Senor Azul cited the Little League precedent on how to call and handle this. 

10 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

You do you, though.

Why so snarky? @LRZ has a very valid point… by your incorrect method (not incorrect call), you stressed the guy, and then hit him with the humility and flexibility of a steel I-beam – “(it) is a judgement call. Do not come out on a judgement call, or you will be ejected”, does nothing to promote approachability, or the concept of us as humans. What if you had gotten the Rule wrong instead? 

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/Agree with Maven

I take my lumps and learn and move on. I can be obtuse in certain things because we do things here that others do not. I am hard headed that way,  But in the end SED  you came here asking for advise.  Folks gave it. 

LOL Just be glad you did not get this one.

Instructor at Bristol his 1st LL World Series game. he's calling an International game, 1st batter up jacks a solo home run and circles the bases, comes into home and dives head 1st at the plate.  He tells us he stood there like WTF  rang him up out for sliding head 1st and then the unfortunate explanation of why thru and interpreter ensued.

 

Yep 1st game 1st hit 1st out.. in a sad sad way.. 

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Similar story: first game of LL AAA (anything close to real baseball; our local AA is station to station). Kid I had coached since T-ball hits a sweet double... and goes headfirst into 2nd base. 🤦‍♂️ 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's good to know that there is an org that does have a mechanic for these "strange" rules.  That piece gets overlooked so often.

That said, not knowing that, I would have gone the same route as @SeeingEyeDog, making the initial call as safe (showing that I saw the play) and then ruling the runner out for violating the slide rule.  I would probably even give the safe sign, a point and say "illegal slide", but then apply the penalty after the play (much like an obstruction call).

His reaction to the coach was a bit on the confrontational side.  I can totally understand the coach coming out and would expect him to.  They don't stop to think about the fact that the ball is live and we can "fix this in post."  When I get a coach coming out like that, I will typically give him/her a "stop sign" or a "just a moment" finger and a head nod to signify "I got you, coach, but we are still in play."  I can't think of a time that has gone wrong for me.  Again, they think we don't see things so they need to jump on it right away.

I am a fan of making calls that show that I am seeing everything going on.  That runner comes diving into home plate as the ball flies to the backstop ... and I make an immediate "OUT" call ... there is going to be more chaos going on than if I call him safe and then apply the rule to call him out (as @SeeingEyeDog did).

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I'm going to also point out a pet peeve...

Just because something is judgment (not in this case, but in general,) it doesn't mean that it is verboten for a coach or player to question it. A pulled foot is judgment. A missed tag is judgment. The majority of discussions/arguments are about judgment.

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5 hours ago, Matt said:

The majority of discussions/arguments are about judgment.

“Oh but Matt! The words ‘in my judgement’ are supposed to be magical, establishing that what I call cannot be scrutinized, and insulating me from any argument by a coach! That even if I don’t know all the rules, I can just say ‘in my judgement’ and that cannot be argued with anymore! And I can dump him, and I too can have an(other) Ejection Story I can share on Facebook!”

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27 minutes ago, MadMax said:

“Oh but Matt! The words ‘in my judgement’ are supposed to be magical, establishing that what I call cannot be scrutinized, and insulating me from any argument by a coach! That even if I don’t know all the rules, I can just say ‘in my judgement’ and that cannot be argued with anymore! And I can dump him, and I too can have an(other) Ejection Story I can share on Facebook!”

Okay, <whistle blows> we have a flag on the play!

Way too much common sense being used here, this is the internets and it's not supposed to be accurate and factual.:stir

Although, to your point, I've heard many newer umpires use this type of argument thinking it would immediately calm the coach and all would be well - much to their chagrin.  Nothing but rules knowledge and application will get you out of some situations... and only a strong backbone will get you out of others.  But this argument never wins in my experience.  Most coaches have been around awhile and will see right through this; they may even want to argue and see what you'll take before getting mad.

 

 

I actually am fine with calling safe to show you saw the play, followed up with the illegal headfirst slide - runner is out by rule.  I'd keep these close together though to avoid coach thinking you screwed up.

It does feel a bit heavy to warn the coach for thinking you missed it.  I'd expect him to question me in that scenario, but then I wasn't there so maybe he was really loud or combative in his questioning.  This is one of the challenges of posting for help without video.  Since we weren't there, we're reading and judging based more on our methods/ideas than what actually happened in my honest opinion.

The main thing is to try and learn from each situation like this and try to make it better the next opportunity that you get.  I know I have learned a lot on this page (more so than anywhere else - including live feedback) but... well, I'll keep that part to myself.

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38 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

I actually am fine with calling safe to show you saw the play, followed up with the illegal headfirst slide - runner is out by rule.  I'd keep these close together though to avoid coach thinking you screwed up.

OK, I could live with this, but I think, speaking technically, it's inaccurate. If the runner is out when he begins his headfirst slide and is seen by the official, to take the LL version, there is never a moment when he is "safe." Nor do I see any reason to make this a delayed call, considering the the ball remains live and other runners can do their thing.

Furthermore, why complicate the scenario with a "safe!" followed by an "out for sliding headfirst"? As I said above, "'Head first! He's out!'" Keep it simple.

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59 minutes ago, wolfe_man said:

Although, to your point, I've heard many newer umpires use this type of argument thinking it would immediately calm the coach and all would be well - much to their chagrin.  Nothing but rules knowledge and application will get you out of some situations...

The problem with newer umpires is that they feel that they have to (a) be right, and (b) tell coach that they're right, and (c) not stop arguing with coach until coach is convinced that they're right.

In fact, only (a) is necessary. Coach is entitled to think that we're wrong (indeed, he's entitled to think anything about us, but he's only entitled to say some of it).

Some coaches want to argue until we're convinced that they're right. That's a waste of time too.

I let coach have his say. Then I tell him what I saw. When he says, "that's not what I saw!" I say, "OK." 

De-escalation is the only way to go.

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Several years ago, while refereeing soccer, I had an argument with a coach--I admit I contributed to the problem, see maven's (b) and (c)--when I said to the coach, "OK, you can have the last word." He was apparently so stunned, he was speechless. End of argument, game continued.

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2 hours ago, LRZ said:

OK, I could live with this, but I think, speaking technically, it's inaccurate. If the runner is out when he begins his headfirst slide and is seen by the official, to take the LL version, there is never a moment when he is "safe." Nor do I see any reason to make this a delayed call, considering the the ball remains live and other runners can do their thing.

Furthermore, why complicate the scenario with a "safe!" followed by an "out for sliding headfirst"? As I said above, "'Head first! He's out!'" Keep it simple.

I see your point and it's probably a cleaner call your way.

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Maybe it’s just me, but I have never and would never use the word “judgment” with a coach.  Especially not prefaced with “my.”

IMO, “judgment” sounds like “There are your facts and his facts, and here is what I am deciding to settle the difference.”

Probably just my overly grammarian brain.

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I've always been a proponent of stating what I saw as objective fact. For example, "He beat the throw," rather than "I saw him get to the bag before the throw" or "In my judgment, he beat the throw." If a coach responds, "No, he didn't," I'll reply, along the same lines as was noted above, "OK. Now let's play ball."

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That is where I was driving to, @LRZ.  You said it much better than my tapdancing around.

IMO, it does the magic thing of saying things without saying them.  IMO, it says "I understand you may have seen it differently, but here is how I saw it.  End of discussion."

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